Dear Annie: I’m a 43-year-old single female, intelligent, well-educated and attractive and have many friends and interests. I am content being single.
Two years ago, I started working for a new company. Almost immediately, I sensed the chemistry with the boss, who is single and two years older. We get along well and seem to have quite a lot in common. This is not just a crush. I have come to realize that he embodies virtually every quality I look for in a partner.
I understand the potential pitfalls and difficulties that could arise from an involvement with someone at work. Although I love my job, I could easily find another position if that became necessary.
My company does not have a policy prohibiting work romances. Two of my current colleagues met here and have been married for six years. I know I am going to have to make the first move. The problem is, I don’t know quite how to do it. I don’t want to make the situation awkward, just in case I have misread the signs and he is really not interested in me. — Looking for a Different Promotion
Dear Looking: You’ve obviously given this a great deal of thought and understand the hazards of a workplace romance. The easiest, and least risky, way is to invite the boss to join you for lunch, or for a cup of coffee or drink after work. His response will let you know if he has any interest in pursuing a relationship.
Dear Annie: I work in a small office with five other women. The woman who sits closest to me is constantly crunching ice. She also smacks and makes slurping noises. She can be heard all over the office. It is distracting and extremely annoying. Some of the women wear headphones to drown out the noise.
This woman knows we can hear her and that we find it irritating, but she doesn’t care. Do you have any suggestions on how to get this rude woman to be more considerate of those around her? — Going Insane in L.A.
Dear L.A.: Since she doesn’t care that her crunching is loud and annoying, approach the woman with great concern and tell her that crunching ice is an indication of iron deficiency and she should see her doctor immediately. If you do this with sincerity and worry every time she crunches, she will either see her doctor or stop. You also have the option of discussing it with her supervisor. Beyond that, invest in headphones.
Dear Annie: This is for “Stressed Out in Texas,” the 11-year-old girl who is being bullied at school:
Dear Stressed Out: I am now a sophomore in college. However, the days of being teased by my peers are still very much in my memory. I will never forget the sickening loneliness every day I went to school and the countless hours spent alone in my room, not wanting to speak to my family because I didn’t want them to know their daughter was a social outcast. I longed to be someone different, to fit in and belong. I will never forget the words they used — fat, ugly, stupid — or the cruel person who said I was “useless, and will always be alone and die unhappy.”
Through the pain you feel now, you will learn how to be kind, even when kindness is not granted you. You will learn to be strong. You’re already showing so much strength and grace beyond your years. Hang in there. One day you’ll realize the people who caused you so much misery no longer matter. I hope you can look back on those days and say with a smile, “I made it out alive.” — T.
Dear T.: We were gratified by the number of formerly bullied readers who wrote to let “Stressed” know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our thanks for all your words of encouragement.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.11.08